Sunday, February 18, 2007

Market Hunt

Writing is a craft, but publishing is a business. It doesn't take submitting long to realize this.

In order to better educate myself on the business side of publishing, last Saturday I spent two hours doing market research. Clicking from one website to the next, I looked at different publishers, their needs, what their latest releases looked like, and numerous other things.

One thing I decided is searching for other markets for category length manuscripts was pretty much like sightseeing on a dead end road. There's Harlequin/Silhouette and e-publishers. As far as I could tell, that's it.

The other thing I realized is that I could lose a lot of time while researching market avenues. One minute I'd settled my children down for rest time, the next I looked up and hours had flown past. The time had come to start evening chores. That's two hours I could have been revising my short story for submission.

I've heard many authors advise newbies to keep up with what's going on in the market, but sometimes I barely have time to write, much less read, so keeping abreast of who is buying what becomes a daunting challenge.

I attended a few publisher spotlights at RWA nationals last year, but quickly gave them up in favor of actual workshops. I wasn't hearing anything I couldn't read on the publisher's website or in the RWR. I talked to a few editors and agents at different events, but didn't feel comfortable addressing market issues in a casual setting. My editor appointment was taken up discussing my pitches. Plus editors and what they acquire can change long before Nationals comes around again.

I'm a little disheartened by the entire process. Anyone out there have any good ideas for keeping up with the market? Any good sources for quick news or ways to learn more about what's happening with different publishers? I'd love any advice y'all could give me.



Maven LJ said...

It's tough keeping up with the market, because it changes so often. Writing to the market is almost impossible, but you do have to know where to submit your work. While I'm a big believer in writing what speaks to you, I understand that you do have to know there's a place to sell it. I think you can learn as much from the market by listening to readers and writers as you can by searching the web or attending workshops. Listen to talk about what sells and look at the bookstore shelves, and you'll have a pretty good idea about what's selling.

I'm back from a week in the mountains, where I rested, shopped, and went blond. Very blond. :-)


Problem Child said...

LJ is blond? Can't wait to see it. I'm a redhead again!

Angel is describing my Catch-22. Everyone says to write what you love and the story that's speaking to you. Yeah, but what if the story that's speaking to you isn't sellable...

Smarty Pants said...

I think if you write category, you're pidgeonholed. Unfortunate, but true. If you can write long enough to hit single title, great. If you get rejected by category, always have an idea in your head of how you could change it to make it single title and resubmit to other house.

Very blonde....hmm...

Playground Monitor said...

Guideline changes is what's kept me from writing something novel-length and steered me toward short stories. Even their guidelines change from time to time but you only have 5000 words invested instead of 55,000.

I think keeping your ear to the ground and doing as "Blondie" said (listening to readers and writers) is about all you can do.

LJ is very blond, PC is redheaded and I'm still graying. *g*

Happy President's Day everyone!

Lis said...

Its tough to keep up. Do you sub to publisher's lunch? Once a week they post some deals so you know who's buying what.